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solarseven/iStock/Thinkstock(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) -- Health officials in Tennessee are attempting to reach out to six thousand people who may have been exposed to Legionnaires’ disease at a Memphis hotel.

There are six confirmed cases of the disease linked to the LaQuinta Inn in South Memphis and Shelby County health officials are trying to make contact with thousands of guests who booked reservations at the hotel between July and September.

“It is a pneumonia with cough and fever requiring antibiotics to cure you of it, and may require hospitalization and some instances can lead to death,” Shelby County Health Officer Helen Murrow said.

The hotel remains closed as investigators try to determine the source of water containing the bacteria.

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fotomem/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Colder temperatures and shorter daylight hours signal both the arrival of fall and ragweed allergy season, which means itchy eyes and runny noses for millions.

Allergies can be a year-round nuisance, but in the fall it's the people with ragweed allergies who are especially miserable. As the ragweed plants bloom from end of August to November, ragweed pollen counts rise, according to the American college of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Dr. Yasmin Bhasin, an allergist at the Allergy and Asthma Care in Middletown, NY, said people in areas with high numbers of ragweed plants and little rain are more likely to have bad allergy symptoms.

"It has been a pretty rough season for people who are allergic to [ragweed]" pollen said Bhasin since there hasn't been rain to clear the air of ragweed pollen. Ragweed pollen "can fly several miles a day [until] it rains."

But she points out there are plenty of steps people can take to reduce their allergy symptoms.

Bhasin said if people know they have fall allergies they should start to use allergy nasal sprays immediately, which will help diminish symptoms as pollen counts rise. Since exposure to pollen has a cumulative effect, taking steps early to diminish your exposure could help with allergy symptoms later in the year.

Bhasin said during peak ragweed allergy season in September people should take over-the-counter antihistamines and minimize time outdoors if pollen counts are high. If people have to work outside and need to minimize exposure, Bhasin said allergy sufferers can consider using face masks and goggles.

If you end up heading outdoors during peak allergy season, you're not doomed. Bhasin said once you're home be sure to take a shower to diminish the amount of pollen you're bringing into your home. Even if it seems nothing it working to reduce allergy symptoms, just remember ragweed pollen won't be around forever. Ragweed pollen counts often peak in September before ending in October or November once frost arrives, according to Bhasin.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) -- Health officials announced on Wednesday that they have detected a case of locally acquired dengue fever in Miami-Dade county, according to the Florida Health Department.

Dengue fever is a viral disease that is mainly spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which also spreads the Zika virus. The virus can cause flu-like symptoms and in rare cases can result in dangerous or deadly infections.

This is the second dengue fever case reported in the state this year, according to the Florida Health Department. One other dengue fever case was reported in Key West in June. That island battled an outbreak of dengue fever from 2009 to 2010.

Since July, the Florida Health Department has been fighting an outbreak of locally transmitted Zika virus that has infected approximately 115, according to the state health department.

For months, health officials have been trying to diminish the population of the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to reduce the chance they will spread the Zika virus in Florida. Miami-Dade Mosquito Control is now conducting "aggressive" mosquito control practices to diminish the possible spread of the dengue fever virus, according to the Florida Health Department.

Dengue fever can result in symptoms including fever, rash, and aches and pains. In severe cases, an initial infection can turn into dengue hemorrhagic fever, in which the blood vessels become permeable. This can lead to shock or possibly death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images(HOBOKEN, N.J.) -- At least 51 people are receiving treatment at Jersey City Medical Center after a New Jersey Transit commuter train crashed into Hoboken Terminal Thursday morning, according to hospital officials.

One person has died and there are multiple "critical injuries," authorities said. At least 100 people were injured in the crash.

Three people are in serious condition at Jersey City Medical Center with deep lacerations and orthopedic and internal injuries, according to the hospital's CEO Joesph Scott. One of these individuals has been placed in the intensive care unit.

None of these injuries are expected to be life threatening, according to Kenneth Garay, Jersey City Medical Center's chief medical officer.

Eight people are also being evaluated at the hospital's emergency department for injuries and may be admitted, Scott said. The hospital has set up its cafeteria to accommodate the "walking wounded," he noted.

Hoboken University Medical Center confirmed that it was treating 16 patients who are all in stable condition.

One patient is being treated for head trauma at Christ Hospital in Jersey City, according to a spokesperson.

Approximately 250 people were on the train that left Spring Valley, New York, at 7:23 a.m. Thursday.

Scott said families wanting to check for missing loved ones can call a hospital hotline at 201-915-2691.

The crash seriously damaged the Hoboken Terminal building, leading to an evacuation. Service on NJ Transit and PATH trains has been suspended.

“There is heavy structural damage to the terminal, which is why it was evacuated," said Jennifer Nelson, director of media relations for NJ Transit. "It is not safe to go in there right now.”

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iStock/ThinkstockDR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Does trying to eat healthy encourage kids and teenagers to develop eating disorders? New research says that could be the case.

A recent report from the American Academy of Pediatrics focuses on signs and symptoms that Pediatricians can use to help identify and combat things like anorexia, bulemia and binge eating disorders in teens.

The fact is that most teenagers who develop an eating disorder, did not have obesity previously. Now since being overweight and obesity are also big problems for teenagers, doctors and parents alike need to be aware of both conditions.

The report’s recommendations include:

  • Discouraging dieting and skipping meals.
  • Promoting a positive body image and monitoring any weight loss among teens.
  • Eating frequent family meals.
  • And asking the teen about bullying.

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Courtesy Laurie Clemens(RICHMOND, Va.) — Laurie Clemens described her son, Brandon Morris, as an outgoing, all-American boy who loved to play football and go fishing.

"He was always there for me," Clemens said, "a typical mama’s boy."

On a spring day in 2015, Morris died after a heroin overdose caused him to stop breathing. Clemens said she was crushed to find her son brain dead in a hospital bed.

“I never expected Brandon would stick a needle in his arm,” Clemens said. "We don’t want this to happen to anyone else’s family. The heartache is just unbearable.”

At the hospital, Clemens was surprised to find out her son could be considered for organ donation, even though he was an intravenous drug user and died from an overdose. Doctors were able to match Morris' liver to a 57-year-old grandfather named George Henderson.

Within a year of Morris' death, Clemens met the man saved by her son's donated organ. After losing her son, Clemens said she has found a bit of hope in her friendship with Henderson, who was previously a stranger but has since become “family.”

In recent years, so many people have died as a result of the nation’s opioid epidemic that it has caused the number of organ donations from fatal overdose victims to skyrocket -- an unexpected consequence that highlights the nation’s agonizing opioid crisis.

In 1994, only 29 donors in the U.S. had died of drug overdoses. Last year, that number climbed to 848, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the nonprofit organization that manages the nation’s organ transplant system.

The rise in numbers is not due solely to the increase in opioid overdoses. Medical advances have also allowed more organs from drug intoxicated donors -- which were often unusable for transplantation years ago -- to save the lives of some people facing long waiting lists.

In the midst of an epidemic that remains stigmatized as a moral, or even criminal issue, rather than as a health crisis, some families have found hope after their losses through organ donations.

‘A Sad Reality’

Dr. David Klassen, the chief medical officer for UNOS, said he has witnessed the opioid epidemic unfold through the mounting number of deceased organ donors who passed away as a result of drug overdoses.

Around five years ago, Klassen said that the number of organ donors had stagnated, and UNOS studies predicted that the number of organ donors would remain “relatively flat” going forward.

“Somewhat unexpectedly, it has increased very substantially, starting around 2013, 2014, and especially last year, 2015,” Klassen said, “Some of the biggest increases in donations has been from people who have died of drug overdoses.”

From 1994, when UNOS record-keeping began, until 2015, the number of organ donors has increased by 112 percent. Meanwhile, in that same time, the percentage of donors who died of a drug overdose has increased by 2,924 percent, according to UNOS.

“It is not something that the transplant system is happy about. Society in general is not pleased with this,” Klassen said. “But from one perspective, you can see some good come out of a bad situation.”

Charles Alexander, the CEO of the Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland, which helps facilitate transplants in the state of Maryland, an area hit especially hard by the opioid epidemic, told ABC News that in 2010, 6 percent of its donors died of a fatal overdose. This year, it is on track to be as high as 25 percent.

“I think we have stigmatized what a drug overdose or a drug user looks like. Many of these people lead normal lives but have a recreational drug habit,” Alexander said.

Clemens added that when her son died of an overdose, “everybody was in shock, a lot of our friends, because they never could even think about Brandon doing that.”

Clemens said Brandon was always very active and had held a job since he turned 15.

“In high school, he had a few knee injuries and that’s when doctors prescribed him pain pills. He would skip physical therapy to get back in the game,” Clemens added, noting how he started taking opioids.

Clemens said she found out in late 2014 that her son switched from pharmaceuticals to IV drugs.

Dr. Kimberly Johnson, the director of substance abuse treatment at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, said that in terms of overall use, the opioid epidemic is “similar to other epidemics.”

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is a federal agency that tries to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.

“In terms of fatalities, it's higher, it's much higher,” Johnson added.

Dr. Jay Fishman, the chief of transplant infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, added that in the recent opioid epidemic, “the individuals who are dying are young and are first- or second-time users.”

Medical Breakthroughs

For donor families, the choice to donate can be fraught as they struggle with both the grief of losing a loved one and concern that IV drug use means increased chance of spreading infected organs to another family’s loved one. Hilda Halstead grappled with the decision earlier this year when her daughter Nadya Zitek was found unresponsive after an opioid overdose.

Halstead, a hospital administrator, assumed that because her daughter was an IV drug user, organ donation would be off the table. But the doctors reassured her it was a possibility, though Zitek’s organs would be labeled “high-risk” for recipients.

“If something happened [to the recipient] ... I don't think I could stand it,” Halstead told ABC News. “You have this moral, ethical responsibility not to cause harm to other people even though you think you're doing it for a good reason.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies an organ transplant from an IV drug user as “high risk” because statistically it holds a higher risk for HIV and hepatitis B or C infections.

Klassen added, “There is the assumption that for people that are involved in drug use, the quality of the organ might be substandard. But in fact, the organs really are generally in fact of better quality in comparison to the general donor population.”

“That probably has to do with the fact that donors like that are younger and maybe don’t have the other health problems that result in death,” compared to the general donor pool, Klassen added.

Recipients must specifically consent to receive a donation from a “high risk” donor, according to Klassen.

In part, risks surrounding these diseases have diminished thanks to new tests that look for genetic signs of a virus. These tests mean that the “window” period for these illnesses, when a person is infected but the disease is not yet detectable, have diminished greatly. HIV can now be detected in five to nine days after infection thanks to nucleic acid testing that identifies virus genetic material, as opposed to 22 days previously with antibody testing. Similarly, hepatitis C can now be detected in three to seven days as opposed to 66 days.

“Even though it is called ‘high risk,’ the risk, if you look at it, is actually extremely low. The risk is increased in comparison to other donors, but if you look at it, it is actually a fraction of a percent,” Klassen said.

The CDC's "high risk" label might give some families pause, and they may choose not to accept an organ from a drug OD victim, Klassen added, especially if they are waiting for a kidney or another organ that they can survive without, at least for a while. Those who are waiting for a heart or a liver may not have as much of a choice.

Data from the New England Organ Bank show that in 2011, about 8 percent of their hearts transplanted were from donors who died due to “drug intoxication.” In 2016, so far, nearly 30 percent of their hearts transplanted were from donors who died from “drug intoxication.”

’I Feel Brandon Around Me All the Time’

Laurie Clemens said she chose to donate her son's organs because she knew the pain of losing her own son, and hoped that no other family would have to go through the same thing.

Clemens recalls the first time she met George Henderson and his wife, less than a year after her son’s liver was transplanted into Henderson’s body.

“I brought a picture of Brandon. I wasn’t going to show it to them unless they asked, and they did ask, and they stared at his pictures for the longest time, and then George looked up at me and said, ‘I’ve got a strong liver,’” Clemens said. “He constantly calls me and checks in on me. He is a good man.”

Henderson, 57, told ABC News, “When I met Brandon's family in 2015, I felt so much joy. The first thing that I could think of was how much it meant for the family to give me life when they had lost Brandon.”

Henderson said prior to receiving the gift of a new liver, he was “living day-to-day,” and his wife Rosalind added, “This was his second transplant. The first one didn’t take.”

Henderson had cancer in his liver, and 30 years ago he suffered from an addiction of his own, alcoholism, he said.

Rosalind Henderson said they knew how Brandon died, but they still decided to take a “high risk” organ. “George was not going to make it. We didn’t have a choice. George was very ill,” she said.

George Henderson told ABC News that if he could’ve met Brandon, he would have tried to save him.

“I would tell him about my life when I was an alcoholic, approximately 30 years ago,” Henderson said. “I would talk to him about the reasons that I drank and how I stopped in 1987. I would talk to him about how he could stop his own addiction.”

Rosalind Henderson added that she and George have six grandchildren, and that previously, George could never travel to see them because he was so sick.

“I tell [Brandon's] mom all the time how much I appreciate her and pray for her. That is an understatement,” Rosalind Henderson said. “She gave life, at a time when she really didn’t have to.”

Clemens said she thinks Brandon would be happy to know that he saved someone’s life.

“Even though his life ended in a tragedy, he helped someone live on,” Clemens said of her son. “I feel Brandon is a hero.”

Clemens said she and her family have since spent a lot of time advocating for increased awareness of the opioid epidemic, and of organ donations.

She said she has developed a close bond with the Hendersons, and through that friendship, “I feel Brandon around me all the time.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a first-of-its-kind insulin device today designed to automatically deliver insulin for type 1 diabetics. The device has many in the diabetic and health care community hoping it could lead to the development of fully artificial pancreas.

“The FDA is dedicated to making technologies available that can help improve the quality of life for those with chronic diseases -- especially those that require day-to-day maintenance and ongoing attention,” Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a statement.

“This first-of-its-kind technology can provide people with type 1 diabetes greater freedom to live their lives without having to consistently and manually monitor baseline glucose levels and administer insulin," he added.

The device, called the the MiniMed 670G hybrid closed loop system, is designed to adjust insulin levels with almost no assistance from the user, according to the FDA.

Created by Medtronic, this device works by having a sensor measure glucose levels under the skin and using a pump and patch that can deliver varying levels of insulin at the right time, without a person manually monitoring their blood sugar. However, since a user has to manually change the insulin levels to counteract meals, the device is not considered a fully automated "artificial pancreas," according to the FDA.

"The FDA approval of the world's first hybrid closed loop system is a culmination of many years of hard work and close collaboration with the clinical and patient communities to generate the body of evidence needed to advance this technology for those living with diabetes," said Dr. Francine Kaufman, chief medical officer of the Diabetes Group at Medtronic.

Derek Rapp, president and CEO of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, said that the device could be a "life-changing breakthrough."

"Today's announcement is a historical achievement for JDRF [Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation] and the entire T1D [type 1 diabetics] community," Rapp said in a statement. "After years of laying the ground work, this life-changing breakthrough is a true testament to the reason JDRF exists, which is to accelerate ways to cure, prevent and treat this disease."

Les Hazelton used the device in a medical trial and said he felt better after having his insulin automatically regulated, according to the JDRF.

"Bottom line: I feel better today and since going into this study, than at any point after I was diagnosed -- physically, emotionally, confident in how I'm managing my diabetes," Hazelton said in a statement released by the JDRF. "You can get emotional about it. On the good days, if there are enough of them, you recall how you feel -- that's how I feel almost every day now. That's what it has done to help me."

The FDA has been working to advance the development of an artificial pancreas systems for years.

Type 1 diabetes, also called juvenile diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin because the immune system has attacked and destroyed cells that create insulin, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Type 2 diabetes, once called adult-onset diabetes, develops when the body starts to become resistant to the effects of insulin, forcing the pancreas to create more insulin. Eventually the pancreas will not be able to make enough insulin to respond to blood sugar levels.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Wavebreakmedia Ltd/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- An infant born thanks to a breakthrough procedure that used genetic material from three people could give hope to thousands in the U.S. struggling with mitochondrial disease.

The baby boy was born without a mutation in his mitochondria, which he would otherwise have inherited from his mother, and is the first infant to be born as the result of a new procedure that involves genetic material from three people. While popularly called a "three-parent" baby, the infant gets 99.9 percent of his genetic material from his two biological parents, with a fraction of material coming from a donor's healthy mitochondria.

The breakthrough was revealed Tuesday by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), a multidisciplinary organization dedicated to the advancement of the science and practice of reproductive medicine. Dr. John Zhang, a New York-based doctor at the New Hope Fertility Clinic, is credited with performing the procedure and has submitted an abstract about the case to ASRM.

The ASRM did not reveal the sex of the infant but the New Scientist reported that it was a boy.

Zhang is expected to present more about the child and his process at an ASRM meeting in October.

The infant was reportedly born thanks to spindle nuclear transfer -- in which the "spindle" of the egg that contains a mother's chromosomes but not her mitochondria is places into a donor egg. The donor egg's nuclear genetic material is removed. The eggs were then fertilized with the sperm of the woman's partner, according to the ASRM.

It is a variation on a procedure approved in the U.K. in which the nucleus of a fertilized egg from a couple is transferred to a fertilized donor egg. In that procedure, the donor's nucleus is removed and destroyed. The destruction of that nucleus reportedly was not acceptable to the couple, leading them to seek out an alternative through Zhang, according to the New Scientist report.

Zhang and the couple went to Mexico to perform the procedure, since it has not been approved in the U.S., according to New Scientist.

Every year, 1,000 to 4,000 children are born with mitochondrial disease in the U.S. and many families have no idea that their children are at risk for developing the dangerous disease until they're diagnosed, according to the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation. Symptoms include fatigue, gastrointestinal problems and seizures, and can start as key organs lack energy to function properly.

Mitochondria are the structures inside the cell that generate energy and have DNA distinct from the cell's nuclear DNA. Mitochondrial DNA is inherited from the mother only.

Tracie Leeper, of Denver, Colorado, is a carrier for mitochondrial disease, as is her husband. The couple did not know they were carriers until their son Jack was diagnosed at 10 months old. He died last year at 18 months after being born with Leigh disease, one kind of mitochondrial disease. Leeper said she's happy about the breakthrough so that others with mitochondrial disease may have more reproduction options. However, Leeper said she still wanted more information about the child's health.

"It's definitely mixed [emotions]. I'm so excited for the science," Leeper said, noting, however, that questions remain. "Is he going to get sick in a year or is it going to manifest in a different way?"

Leeper and her husband had a 25 percent chance of having a child with Leigh disease. The couple is now undergoing traditional IVF to diminish the chance that will occur.

Mitochondrial disease often results from a mutation in the mitochondrial DNA, which can be passed solely from the mother to the child. It can also be caused by a nuclear DNA mutation in either mother or father that causes dysfunction in mitochondria. Since mitochondria are the energy sources for cells in the body, if they fail or do not work properly, it causes a range of symptoms that can be fatal in severe cases.

“This work represents an important advancement in reproductive medicine," ASRM President Dr. Owen Davis said in a statement on Tuesday. "Mitochondrial disease has been an important, and challenging problem. If subsequent research determines the safety and efficacy of spindle nuclear transfer, we look forward to it being an option for patients who risk transmitting mitochondrial diseases to their children."

Philip Yeske, the science officer for the United Mitochondrial Foundation, said the procedure may sound like science fiction but that people should remember the child's DNA will be 99.9 percent from their biological parents and not the donor. For parents who risk passing this disease to their children, the procedure could literally be a lifesaver.

"First and foremost this is absolutely about the prevention about the transmission of disease from mother to child," Yeske said. "These techniques afford [women with mitochondrial disease] the opportunity to have a biologically related child without the disease."

However, he said researchers will need to continue to study the child to see if they develop any further complications.

"What we lack are long-term studies introducing a third genome, whether that has implications for that child," Yeske explained.

There are an estimated 12,000 women of child-bearing age in the U.S. with mitochondrial disease, Yeske said. The procedure will not help everyone with mitochondrial disease, as some mutations arise from the nuclear DNA that is not changed in through this procedure.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) --  Alan Cumming wears many hats. He’s is an award-winning Broadway actor, best known for his role in "Cabaret," and became an on-screen name in TV’s "The Good Wife" and as Nightcrawler in “X-Men 2." On top of his acting career, he is also a New York Times best-selling author, director, comedian and activist.

When he sat down with ABC News’ Dan Harris for the "10% Happier" podcast, he had a different, more literal, hat on –- a bright red baseball cap that had "Make America Gay Again" written in big white letters.

Cumming spoke about his meditation practice, his love of Crocs shoes and his new book out this month called, “You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams: My Life in Stories and Pictures,” a collections of adventures and Cumming’s personal photographs.

 Cumming said his busy schedule makes it hard for him to keep up a regular routine with meditation. But when he does practice, he said he sits in a low chair with his hands on his knees and his eyes closed.

"I breathe," he said. "I start to think about my breathing."

Meditation was something Cumming said he started doing on his own as a way to take a few moments to "block everything out for a while." Over time, he said, it’s helped him to "respond, not react," to situations –- a core lesson in mindfulness.

"You know sometimes when you think, 'I could get really stressed out about this or people are really annoying me,'" Cumming said. "It makes such sense ... [to] take a step back and think, 'Hmm, what’s the best situation here? What’s the best way to deal with this?' and then make a qualified and studied decision."

"I’ve noticed it with other people, like people riding me," he added. "I’ll say, 'OK, don’t reply to that email right now. Let’s just wait a minute. Let’s rest and see how we feel after five minutes.’”

 Growing up in Scotland, Cumming said he had a tumultuous childhood and a strenuous relationship with his late father, which he detailed in his 2014 New York Times best-selling memoir, "Not My Father’s Son." He said living in a tense environment from an early age helped him learn how to deal with "difficult people," and as an adult, he learned how to feel comfortable in his own skin.

"[I made] a decision to not allow shame into my life," Cumming said. "It wasn’t easy and there were lots of hiccups along the way."

He made the conscious choice to start saying, "'I’m good enough, I’m fine. It wasn’t me and I’m going to be OK. And I’m going to move forward and not let this baggage from my past dictate my present or my future."

Meditation, he said, was a help in making that happen. "I think I kind of like the way that meditation works," he said. "I mesmerized myself, or changed myself into just thinking, 'No.'"

Cumming said his childhood was one of the reasons he spends so much time focusing on kindness and trying to being kind to others. He believes there is no situation that can't be dealt with in a better way than being kind to the other person.

"My mom always says, 'It doesn’t cost anything to be nice,'" he added. "I think even when you want to punch someone in the face, take a step back and try to be kind about it and it will go better."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Continued controversy over breast cancer screening frequency in women over 50.

If you have dense breast it may be harder to identity possible presence of cancer. So those with dense breast, who are also at higher risk for breast cancer, should be screened yearly with mammography.

The question of whether or not to also get a sonogram as part of breast cancer screening is still up in the air. Many doctors, myself included, feel that sonograms are important for women with dense breast at any age.

Since sonograms can detect tumors that mammograms often miss, my prescription is that you talk to your doctor about the right type of screening for you. Should it be a mammogram? A mammogram and sonogram? And how often should you get screened?

By law in many states, you need to be informed if you have dense breasts on your mammogram report. So ask, “Am I dense?”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Randall Johnson(NEW YORK) --  One Illinois couple has a major milestone to celebrate: 77 years of marriage. But that's not all. In a few months Vera and John Peterson of Freeport, Illinois, will be blowing out birthday candles for John's 100 birthday.

"I met this tall, handsome guy and you know, it took a while," Vera Peterson, 100, told ABC News. "It has been wonderful. I'm not saying that everything was all roses. There was a few thorns as always, and I think everyone has that. It can't be perfect, but we have to have give and take."

The Petersons were married on Sept. 28, 1939.

Together, Vera and John, 99, have seven children, 18 grandchildren, 34 great-grandchildren and three great, great-grandchildren.

Randall Peterson, 76, the eldest child of the couple, said his father was a farmer most of his life before becoming a carpenter.

Vera was a stay-at-home mom until her children were grown up. She later worked at a nursing home for 20 years.

"It's amazing feat, especially this day in age," Peterson of Chadwick, Illinois, told ABC News of his parents' anniversary. "Mom's 100 and Dad's going to be 100 in March, which is also amazing. They have their own sense of humor, which we enjoy."

Pam Queckboerner describes her grandparents as genuine people with a spiritual connection.

"They care for each other from the bottom of their hearts," she said. "They live and breathe each other, so I think that has kept them going. They are very caring, loving and giving."

For their anniversary, the Petersons are having a low key, celebratory dinner with family.

As for their secret to a long marriage, John Peterson credits his favorite saying: "Yes dear!"

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Ari Smith(NEW YORK) -- Three weeks ago, an adorable miniature pig named Miracle was born on a farm in Colorado. Miracle was born without his hind legs but the little piglet has proven to be a fighter.

Ari Smith, a mini pig breeder and founder of Colorado Cutie Pigs, didn't think that Miracle would survive without his back legs. But the piglet has adapted to his disability, getting around on his front legs instead.

 "It was amazing to watch, because he doesn't know anything's wrong with him. He just thinks [how he walks] is normal," Smith told ABC News Denver affiliate KMGH.

Miracle has no problem trotting around the farm as he balances on his front legs, but Smith said she will have a wheelchair specially made for him.

Colorado Cutie Pigs has reached out to members of the community to find someone who can care for Miracle's special needs and give him a forever home.

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Courtesy Ashley Bartyik(NEW YORK) -- An elderly Canadian couple has finally been reunited after being forced to live in separate nursing homes for more than eight months, according to their granddaughter.

The reunion, which was filled with "tears of joy," came after Wolfram Gottschalk, 83, and Anita Gottschalk, 81, were photographed crying in late August during a visitation a few months after they were first separated, according to their granddaughter, Ashley Bartyik.

"This is the saddest photo I have ever taken," Bartyik, 29, captioned the photo posted to Facebook.

At the time, Bartyik told ABC News she and her family had been pleading with Fraser Health Authority, which manages the assisted living residences, to allow her grandparents, who had been married for over 62 years, to live together.

Bartyik added that that she was worried her grandparents' heartbreak and stress "could literally kill them."

Fraser Health previously said that it had been working to get the couple together but space was unavailable.

"We certainly understand how heartbreaking this is for the family," Fraser Health spokeswoman Tasleem Juma told ABC News partner CTV News at the time. "It’s upsetting for us as well."

But nearly a month later -- and after the heartbreaking photo of Wolfram and Anita had been shared more than 10,000 times on Facebook -- the couple's wishes have been finally granted, Bartyik announced on social media last week.

Wolfram was moved into the same facility as Anita on Thursday, Sept. 22, and the two were captured smiling, kissing and embracing in heartwarming photos and video Bartyik posted to Facebook.

"They can now be under the same roof for their remaining years, and we couldn’t be more grateful," Bartyik wrote in her post on Facebook. "They would like to thank Fraser Health for this reunion, and also the media for helping to get their story heard. They also wish to thank everyone around the world that liked, shared, or discussed their story."

The 29-year-old added that though her grandparents were now reunited, "the story isn't over" and that she would continue advocating for other couples separated by the health system in the British Columbia area.

Fraser Health cared "deeply about reuniting couples in long-term care as quickly as possible," Juma told ABC News in a statement Tuesday, adding that the health authority was happy to be able to reunite Wolfram and Anita.

Juma explained that Fraser Health had been working with Bartyik's family "for some time to ensure we were able to reunite their loved ones as quickly as possible." She added that health authority had "presented the family with options for reunification and they chose the option that suited them best until a bed became available at their preferred site."

"Couple reunification is a priority for us," she said. "This can sometimes take longer when individuals need different levels of care, and especially when families have a preference for a particular site. Still, we do everything in our power to bring couples together quickly."

Bartyik did not immediately respond to ABC News' requests for additional comment Tuesday.

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Hayden Bird/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The window for helping certain stroke patients with a potentially life-saving blood clot removal surgical treatment may be longer than previously thought, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Traditionally stroke is treated with medications that stabilize or diminish blood clots in the brain. In select patients surgical intervention to remove the clot may be possible to mitigate effects of the stroke.

Currently, the American Stroke Association advises that blood clot removal for some patients -- an emergency procedure called endovascular thrombectomy recently developed and increasingly used in addition to medical therapies -- should be done within six hours after stroke symptoms to lower the amount of disability patients will face later. But this analysis showed that the time for treatment could be slightly longer -- up to 7.3 hours.

This study could affect the current guidelines on treating stroke patients, according to Dr. Cathy Sila, Director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. She said there is "compelling rationale to move that window a little bit."

As a result of having lost blood flow to the brain for an extended time, stroke victims often suffer physical disabilities and lose varying degrees of their independence. They often require longer-term care and therapies.

"Long-term disability of stroke is more expensive than cost of hospitalization," Sila told ABC News Tuesday.

Authors from multiple institutions including the University of Calgary, pooled data from five studies on stroke treatments to see if providing endovascular thrombectomy in addition to standard medical treatment past six hours would help patients. They analyzed those studies for patients who have had large blood vessel strokes, seeking to understand how much of an effect blood clot removal surgery performed after six hours would have on their longer-term recovery. They used a benchmark of three months after the stroke to assess patients' level of disability.

In total, 1,287 patients were enrolled in the five trials studied. The researchers examined clinical data and brain imaging in addition to the patients’ physical function. They found that the patients who received standard medical therapy along with an endovascular thrombectomy up to 7.3 hours after developing stroke symptoms were less likely than patients who were treated with only medications to report disability three months later.

When they examined the patients three months after the stroke, each hour delay in receiving the treatment corresponded in worse outcomes for the patients, including more severe disability and less functional independence.

This meant that even the patients who received the treatment outside of the generally accepted 6 hours cut off up to the 7.3 hours point tended to report less disability during their recovery. However, if people received the treatment after 7.3 hours from onset of symptoms there was no statistical improvement.

Dr. Mayank Goyal, a co-author of the study and professor of Radiology, University of Calgary, said he hopes the study will help raise awareness about the importance of getting prompt treatment for a stroke and having an efficient system to provide this procedure.

"Time is brain," Goyal told ABC News. "The faster we can re-establish blood flow to brain, the higher the likelihood of the patients having a good outcome and going back to independent living."

Sila said further study is needed to find out if these kinds of procedures could benefit people even after the 7.3 hours from symptom onset. She pointed out that these studies are important since they can help change guidelines and push insurance companies to cover the procedure for more patients.

"We need to have this kind of data so third party payers would have it to base [costs] on," she said.

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Johannes Simon/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In the first three months of 2016, slightly more U.S. adults say they had at least one “heavy drinking day” in the past year – 25.4 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Using a large national survey, CDC researchers found that the percentage of men who had at least one day of heavy drinking was 32.4 percent (higher than the 2015 figure of 29.9 percent) and 18.9 percent of women said the same (the 2015 figure was 17.4 percent, but the female figures are close enough that they might be due, statistically, to chance).

For both sexes, the numbers are significantly higher than they were a decade ago.

Although the report from the CDC only provides new data, it could spark more discussions about alcohol and binge drinking.

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